Friday, November 23, 2012

Return Of The Luo Bo And Other Nightmares

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone back home! Last night, we stuffed ourselves silly. My wonderful husband made us reservations at Cafe Yum, the buffet restaurant in the 5-star Shangri-La hotel. Forget what you think about buffets. This place is classy and awesome. Coincidentally, Thursday nights happen to be lobster night. Lobster, plus their usual spread of amazing sushi, sashimi, fresh seafood and a whole incredible Thanksgiving line-up made this one of the best meals we've ever had. We had made reservations for 6pm, which IS kind of early, but let's not forget that we have our darling toddler who gets loud and screamy when she's tired. She was really well-behaved too during our meal. It was such a lovely evening. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if I could have shared it with my family.

Since our reservations were so early, I didn't have much time to get Raelynn ready (who is now in the phase of removing her clothes so I have to dress her, then dress her again every time she undresses herself) or myself before Jeremy came home and announced it was time to go. So of course, it wasn't until this morning that I discovered the return of the luo bo in my kitchen. If you didn't read my recent post complaining about the luo bo, a Chinese radish, go here. Then I can tell you all about the latest luo bo findings.

They don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in China. But my school is kind enough to give us a day off to celebrate. Instead of a 4-day weekend though, we get a 3-day weekend. Hey, I won't look a gift horse in the mouth! Of course, Jeremy had to work. I told him I was going to scrub this house from top to bottom. It was nasty. It almost seems like a giant waste of time, what with MIL constantly coming over to fuck it up and make it smell like one giant fart. Even the diaper disposal smells better than some of the things she cooks. In any event, cleaning was necessary. My husband then tells me not to worry about cleaning today. We'll clean together tomorrow. We've been married just over 2 years now, and I'm willing to bet other married women will agree with me when I say the only thing he'll say about cleaning when tomorrow comes is that we should clean tomorrow. Jeremy's definition of "tomorrow" is different than mine. Earlier this week when I was pissed off at MIL about staining that shirt she had no business putting Raelynn into, I'd tried to get the stains out. I made them less noticeable but they are still there. My husband told me that he would scrub it by hand again and get the stains out "tomorrow." And several days have passed now where "tomorrow" has been used to describe when this activity will take place. But that's another story.

In the interest of saving my Saturday plans of having my husband take me to buy new boots for winter, I went ahead and cleaned the house. Truth be told, I couldn't stand for it to be so messy. Raelynn's toys were all over the place, making our small living room look like her toy box blew up. MIL only pretends to clean so it was blatantly obvious to me that our home needed a good, thorough cleaning. One thing that needed cleaning was our dish drying rack. Before I could even clean up our breakfast dishes, I had to wash that. As I put the dishes away, I found this hiding under a bowl:

It's a thick slice of luo bo! WHY with the fucking luo bo again? Right by my favorite mug with the yak on it too! Urgh! For just a few days, all signs of luo bo were regulated to the refrigerator vegetable drawer, where it should be. Now this shit again. Even if luo bo was my favorite thing ever, I would not be eating it after finding it here. I don't know if you can see the pink tray that is part of this drying rack very well, but it has remnants of flour on it from MIL making her dumplings and making a mega-mess in the process which she shirks all responsibilities for cleaning up.

After getting my kitchen back to the way I like it, I began the process of cleaning the rest of the house. I think I've mentioned before that things get so dusty in China. You could dust the counters and shelves in the morning and in the afternoon, there will be a ton of dust on there, as though you never cleaned a day in your life. I try to dust at least once a week. If I didn't work, I would dust hourly. I ran a few loads of laundry. I dusted. I swept. And that is when I found this lovely, shriveled thing under the kitchen table, in the prime zone MIL brags about keeping clean for us with her make-believe sweeping followed by a round of her pushing the mop that she has submerged into slightly clean water with no cleaning agent a few half-assed times across the floor. Raelynn does a better job with the fucking wet wipes when you give her some to play with!
So, what is this thing, you ask? Why, it's a dried up luo bo slice of course! How the baby didn't find this disgusting thing before me is a mystery to me. I moved it to this wood chair to get a better photo of it because it wasn't coming out very good in it's original spot under our table. I'm ashamed it was on my floor long enough to turn into this. Then again, I'm working and I spend my evenings playing with my daughter and making dinner for our family, followed by bathing my daughter and putting her to sleep (which is extremely difficult lately because she's got more teeth coming in). At night, I feel I've earned my fucking right to play Words With Friends or Song Pop or just catch up on emails and Facebook comments. Thankfully, Raelynn didn't try to eat this, another reason to be grateful during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend!

The house was really coming along nicely. Raelynn became preoccupied with the Nick Jr. cartoons so I really hustled, trying to get it all done before she got underfoot again. I got to her room and noticed she'd shoved a ton of toys into her toy stroller. As I cleaned it out, I found something else:
Dear God! What is in there with the baby doll?!? Is that a...

That stupid, moronic imbecile! All it would take would be for her to use the bathroom or more likely, for her to gab on our phone to her dolt-rod friends and not notice Raelynn slip this over her head. Maybe MIL should wear it on her own head. It would certainly be an improvement.

Until I can figure out how to bag MIL, I at least have an ideal solution for how to deal with new ugly clothes for the baby from her. It's my revenge for that shirt she fucked up the other day, not to mention the other clothes she has ruined by forgetting to use a bib (which just goes to show you what a total dumbwad she is when I leave bibs sitting on the table for her to use, right in front of the high chair). I'm taking a page out of the senile, ugly old troll handbook here. When she gives us something for the baby to wear, I'll accidentally on-purpose spill oily, greasy food and soy sauce all over it and then not wash it. And it will STAIN. Then she'll see how it fucking feels when clothes that should last the baby for another year are fucked up by sloth behavior like hers. Yes, it will absolutely fucking priceless.

Monday, November 19, 2012

They're Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Cue the music from Poltergeist, won't you? Because when I was putting the laundry away this afternoon, I made a grisly discovery in Raelynn's closet...

OH GOD! These fucking disgusting things AGAIN?!? In case you missed it the first time around, click here to read about how MIL forced these awful things upon us. There they were, taunting me like some maniacal clown from hell. To top it off, she'd shoved Raelynn's dirty Hello Kitty socks in there, because we don't have 15 to 20 other pairs of socks the kid can wear before I do another load of laundry or anything. Total buffoon.

You might be wondering: how in the fuck did these ghastly things reemerge to see the light of day? My friends, there is a hole in the vortex of ugly clothes from MIL. It seems that while here during the week, she's got nothing better to do than go through our things. Now, if she'd gone through my own personal things, this would be a story about me kicking her so hard in her ass that it would become a permanent hat for her. No, this was my smaller, newer vortex in the storage part of Raelynn's closet. These things were buried by seasonal clothes from summer, extra blankets and clothes Raelynn is now too large for. Good old troll-face was rummaging around and guess what she found! Argh!

As you would be correct to guess, I have confiscated them once again. I already told my husband what I'd done. He didn't protest. I asked him why she was going through our closets and he said she just wants to control things. Oh, MIL, fucking please! You cannot and will not control my ass. This is my house and my family and if you want to keep coming over to see our baby, you will fuck off and quit rooting through our things.

You see? I told you all she's a manipulative cow. Bitch needs a hobby and fast. For now, the new vortex of all things ugly from MIL is holding steady. She'll never fucking find those shoes now. Ha!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I once wrote how Qingdao is famed for plastic bags, in addition to its' famous beer. But it seems to be making a name for itself with how many stupid people there are per square meter here. And perhaps with that in mind, it should consider renaming itself "Stupidopolis."

My MIL alone is cause to rename this place "Stupidopolis." Hell, they should make her some high-ranking stupid official of stupidity. Since I last posted, she's done a number of things to be considered for world's spokesperson for what happens when common sense is completely lacking. But she's not the only one. Oh man! The stupid things I see here every day! Some days, I just shrug my shoulders. Other days, I can't stop laughing. But on days like today, I've got to let it out before I go on stupid overload.

First, I'll begin with everyone's favorite bovine-brained spaz, MIL. For Lord knows what reason, she decided to change Raelynn into a different t-shirt while I was at work one day. And then, changed her back into whatever I'd put her in. How do I know this? Because today, after taking Raelynn to the church play group, I changed her into lighter clothing because with the radiators on in our home, it's really quite toasty in here. I put Raelynn in her new Bubba Gump shirt that my parents had brought her. She had only worn it once, in my presence, on the day my parents flew back out. She did not get anything on it then. So why, then, would it have stains on it when I put her in it today?!? I realized that far-sighted oaf had something to do with it. Angrily, I fumed off to the bathroom to scrub oily Chinese food stains out of Raelynn's shirt, muttering strings of curse words so foul, even I was surprised at myself. How hard is it for her to put a bib on the baby?!? How hard is it for her to clean up stains on clothing if she makes them?!? Does she need glasses?!? How she could miss those stains is a mystery to me! And then to put it back in the closet like it was fresh and clean!!!! AUGH!!!! Even with all my laborious efforts, I can still see the stains though they are fainter now. My folks bought the shirt a little bigger so that Raelynn could grow into it and wear it for a while. I purposely dress Raelynn in things I don't give a damn about when I go to work just so shit like this doesn't happen and look at what fucking happened! Sweet fuckity fuck!

Also, all week, she has been leaving luo bo all over the house. What's a luo bo, you ask? It's a green Chinese radish. A picture is worth 1,000 words:
It has a really sharp taste. It's not too bad but people here are convinced that it has all these benefits for your health. My husband is one of them and claims it will help with digestion. Yes, it helps you burp out the most disgusting smells known to man and causes frequent farting. Lovely. He slices a piece of it for me and then stands over me, like an austere parent who knows their child, when left unattended, will hurl that slice of luo bo out the window or stuff it into the couch, never to be seen again.

Anyway, MIL cuts some of one luo bo up and leaves it on the kitchen counters. And in the dish drying rack. And then she cuts up a whole different one even though there's still plenty in the kitchen and leaves it on our dining table. And in our refrigerator. In the cabinets. And on the window sills. It's taking over my home! ARGH!!!!

Next candidate for mayor of "Stupidopolis" goes to the man that walked into our car while my husband was parking. I mentioned this on Facebook the other day but didn't go into great detail. Which I probably should have because I left my friend Chrystal with the impression that my husband is horrendously slow at parking. He's come a long way since his first days of driving. One day after picking me up from work, Jeremy began the process of parking in front of our apartment. He attempts to parallel park, which he's become quite good at. But the problem on this day is that he's selected a spot that is too small, much thanks to the two chowderheads in front and behind this vacant almost-space. I tell him this but he pays me no regard and lines our car up with the front one, then slowly starts rolling into position. It's at this time that I notice a man of about 45 or 50 walking way-too-close to the passenger side of the car. He practically rubbed up against us. "Watch out for the moron, Dear," I tell my husband but before he can figure out which moron (to be fair, there are just too many of them here) this man walks into our car as it is reversing. Now, we were not moving fast at all. The car was just rolling backward gently. As soon as he ran into us, our reverse sensor went berserk. The man didn't even stumble. He just kept on walking and dusted himself off and he went about his business.

Moments later, Jeremy concluded that I was right about the spot being too small and decided to park on the opposite side of the street where he would back into a spot up on the sidewalk, which I've mentioned is totally normal here. He's now perpendicular to the sidewalk and is in the street and just before he punches it to roll up onto the curb, I tell him to watch out. Cluelessly, a mom and daughter keep walking BEHIND our car. Not even on the sidewalk. In the street. Oblivious that we are reversing. These our are next candidates for officials in "Stupidopolis." There are so many people like this here that it boggles my mind as to HOW this population is so insanely high. Seriously. NO ONE has any common sense here, hence no one looks both ways to cross a street. I cannot even understand why anyone would walk into oncoming traffic without a death wish, but here they all are, walking among us.

And finally, a whole slew of candidates for official positions in the town of "Stupidopolis" can be found at Metro, the German-owned Costco-esque store here. We went this weekend to grab a few things. One of the things we needed was conditioner. In the aisle for hair care, there is a huge section of shampoos. And then there is a really small area of conditioner. They even have box sets which you would suppose would be one shampoo and one conditioner, but no. It's 2 shampoos! How utterly stupid! The only conditioner they carry at Metro is of the upper echelon. Stuff like L'Oreal, which is what I wound up buying. But as my husband and I were having a conversation about this, the 3 Metro employees just standing about uselessly in the aisle, began doing that idiotic clicking noise I fucking hate that all people seem to think is just fine to make to a baby. Most people do this here, so it's nothing new. But what pissed me off is that Jeremy and I are talking about something and instead of just clicking a few times, these women went clicking on and on and on and on and on and FUCKING ON until I turned and glared at them, and snapped in English, "Would you mind stopping that now please? Geez!" Thankfully, they understood me enough to cease and desist or I would have lobbed some bottles of shampoo and conditioner at their empty heads.

Really, everyone here deserves a position in office in "Stupidopolis." The people who block traffic and cause it to jam should be highly considered for something such as this. Or how could I ever forget the woman who took our order for the cake we had made for our vow renewal? I can't believe I almost forgot about her.

First, a look at the cake:
It was a cheesecake from the German bakery in the Hisense mall, which for those of you not in the know, it is the fanciest mall here what with Tiffany's, Prada and Chanel, just to name a few. I had asked her to top it with chocolate which took Jeremy forever to get her to understand. Chocolate shavings? No, chocolate sauce. Chocolate cocoa powder? Nooooo, chocolate sauce. And on and on until finally it was comprehended. When she asked us what we'd like to decorate it with, I asked my husband to ask her if she could just put some hearts on top. He asks and she brightens, and even I understand that this is no problem to have done. She runs off for a moment, and returns with what looks like fondant in the shape of hearts. Yes, that's perfect, I'd said. And my husband conveys to her that this is just what I'm looking for. Then she starts saying something else and I'm not sure what it is but she seems concerned about something. And that is when Jeremy told me one of the funniest things I have ever heard. I am so surprised that I didn't write this before. Are you ready? Presenting one of the stupidest things I have ever heard:
She had said that of course she could do the hearts but we shouldn't eat them. I was quite confused because I'd thought they were made of fondant, which is not just edible but tasty. "Oh, you can't eat them?" I asked my husband. And he then told me that you CAN eat them. They are purely edible but, and I quote: "She said we shouldn't eat them because they have too much sugar in them."

Did you see that? Yes. I'm not even joking. I wouldn't ever joke about cake. I laughed. Hard. Right there while writing out "Congratulations Jeremy and Jennifer" on a paper to ensure they would spell our names correctly. Is it any wonder why Chinese desserts are horrible? I can just see them now, withholding the sugar. But they'll dive right into a greasy plate of fried crap, cooked in way too much peanut oil. No, that can't possibly be even worse for you. THIS is why I went to the German bakery. At least the cake turned out beautifully. And deliciously. And we ate every single heart on it too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rant #138

You know that I'm supremely pissed when I can't even pull a clever title for a post out of my ass. And of course, you can probably guess who sent me off into a rage. MIL!

There's been a few things bubbling up lately. Such as having to remind her AGAIN to give Raelynn the breast milk I leave for her. WHY IS THAT SO FUCKING HARD TO REMEMBER?!? I want so badly to tape a note for her onto the refrigerator that would be the Chinese equivalent of this: "Dear insipid, vomitous cow, give my daughter her milk or I will take your goat face and shove it up your hairy baboon ass." I better use Google translator for that because I doubt Jeremy will assist me in compiling that note.

Then there was the incident where she threw out my coffee measuring spoon! It was inside the almost-empty bag of ground coffee I'd had left. She leaves garbage everywhere but oddly decided THIS she would toss into the garbage. Sigh.

Also, MIL and FIL kept bringing these jugs that at one time, had contained peanut oil, which they had rinsed out and were now using to lug us drinking water. I should add that we would have real jugs of drinking water delivered here. Until earlier this week when my husband had a filter installed so now we can just get fresh water from the tap. Which is awesome. Especially since his parents' so-called fresh, clean mountain drinking water had pieces of dried tea in it. Yeah, real clean you guys. Now at least they won't bring these stupid jugs of water anymore.

These things were just mildly irritating. And as with anything MIL (or even FIL) ever does, each thing on its own doesn't send me into a rage. But added together they sure do, especially when added to what I discovered today...
One of my dimbulb in-laws broke the drum pedal on Raelynn's toy drum set!
Now when you step on it, it doesn't press down and make that lovely big boom that it should. I want to club them both in the head with the drumsticks. 
Raelynn loves her drum set and we do too. We got a great deal on it, but it still infuriates me that everything nice or cool that we ever have gets ruined somehow by Jeremy's parents. They don't even say, "Oh hey, sorry I broke that thing." They just break it and say nothing about it, which they have done so many times now, I've lost count. Or they get stains on Raelynn's nice clothes which has forced me to resort to dressing her in things I either don't care about getting ruined or darker colors. She just got a bunch of cute clothes from my parents and her Uncle Phillip and Aunt Kimmy and I don't want to come home after a long day of work to find that the cute clothes I've dressed her up in are now stained with soy sauce and Lord knows what shitacular barf she's cooked up for my poor child.

Here's hoping those troglodytes don't further damage this kick-ass drum set, or anything else. Especially my angel-baby. I'll end with a photo of Raelynn enjoying the drum set the first day we got it:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Week Of Family

Many of you have been begging for an account of how my visit with the family went, which I'm happy to oblige you with. But you all need to learn some fucking patience. Remember, I work. I'm a mother to a very busy toddler. And I don't just shit out my posts on here. Plus, there have been additional delays due to the Halloween party I had to plan for my kindergarteners and catching some horrid cold on top of all that which either mutated into the kind of thing that causes you to cough from the hollows of your chest until gross chunks of mucusy goodness come up. Which makes me fit in more with the locals here since they cough and hack (and consequently spit) all the livelong day. Anyway, now you can chillax because here is my post detailing my family's brief but wonderful visit.

How did we spend our visit? Well, for much of it, it consisted of us enjoying lots of food and drinks. That's the Raskin Family way of course! But the best part was watching Phillip and Kimmy and my folks soaking in all the preciousness that is Raelynn. Phillip and Kimmy had last visited in January when Raelynn was 8 months old. She could crawl then but she wasn't walking. Now she runs all over the place and spouts out token phrases like, "Bye bye! See you soon!" Or, "Are you okay?" And yells out random words like, "Shoe!" So it's not surprising that my brother and sis-in-law were even more smitten with her this time. And Raelynn absolutely adored them too, of course. Here's some of my favorite moments:

My folks arrived the day after Phillip and Kimmy. And with their arrival, I realized this was the first time ALL of us were together in the same place. Over the last few years, it's always been some sort of combination of us all. Like, Phillip, Kimmy, Jeremy, Raelynn and me, but no Mom and Dad. Or Mom, Dad, Jeremy, Raelynn and me but no Phillip and Kimmy. Now here we all were. Eating, drinking and being merry. But of course, Jeremy and I had previously decided to take the opportunity to do something very important to us while we had everyone all together: have a small ceremony celebrating our marriage.

It just so happened that my folks had been planning their visit to fall on October 20th. That date has always been so horribly painful to us because that's the day Mom died. (For those of you who don't know the back story, I have 2 moms. One who passed away when I was a child and one who became my mom when I was a rotten teenager.) I had an idea: what if we renewed our vows on that day so we could include both of my moms? Would anyone be offended? Both my brother and father gave me their blessings for going ahead with it on this day. Other family members also found it a perfect tribute to Mom too. So it was settled.

Jeremy and I planned and stressed and stressed and planned. How anybody ever has a large ceremony and reception without going completely insane is beyond me. I was so relieved to just be having my immediate family and Jeremy's parents. No offense at all to any of my other wonderful relatives or friends. I don't see how the happy couple ever enjoys their wedding day with so many guests to talk to. It's YOUR day, right? Yet, you have to spend the whole time thanking everyone for coming and all that. I would have been miserable with a whole big affair. Somehow, we managed to get it together and were able to have it in a private dining room at the Shang Palace in the Shangri-La hotel, with flowers, a cake, an officiant and matching wedding bands. This turned out perfectly:

But soon, it was time for Phillip and Kimmy to go back to Singapore. And our hearts were heavy with sadness again. We still had Mom and Dad for another day and a half though. My father and I had been really looking forward to the Sunday brunch in his hotel. The food there is excellent but for this week, they were having a special lobster promotion. All you can eat everything AND all you can eat lobster. Oh yes! We all ate ourselves silly and Jeremy and I enjoyed watching Mom and Dad play with Raelynn.
This photo is just so cute!
But this one of my dad feeding Raelynn green tea ice cream totally wins. How cute is this?!?

We also got to show them our house, which they didn't have time to do the last time they were here. Raelynn of course showed her Papa and Mimi all of her toys.

We spent the rest of our time with them - you guessed it - eating and drinking. Before they left, we feasted on crab at the Japanese restaurant in the Shangri-La's business corridor. After that, it was very difficult to decide which of our meals had been the most sumptuous.

The whole time everyone was here, it was more than we could have hoped for. And as it was coming to an end, as all good things eventually do, my father showed me something that helped me in my sadness. He carries a little card in his wallet that reads: "Don't be sad because it's over. Be happy because it happened." It really spoke to me because I have always gotten so sad when visits like these end. I hate goodbyes. But now I have all these beautiful memories to treasure forever. And I will hold them dearly to my heart until I get to see my family again. Thank you all for everything. I love you all so much!